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Mayor Gary Phillips of San Rafael

Mayor Gary Phillips accepted the award on behalf of the City of San Rafael. See more photos from the recognition event.

At the May 20 Board of Directors meeting, MMWD launched a new conservation recognition program, “Water-Saving Heroes,” to acknowledge customers who are significantly reducing their water use and inspiring others to do the same. When the board requested a 25% voluntary water use reduction in January, these customers immediately rose to the challenge.

We’re looking for more water-saving heroes to recognize at future board meetings. If you know a water-saving hero—or if you are one—let us know!

Congratulations to the following customers who were recognized on May 20:

RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS

Nancy and Mike Duran, San Rafael

  • For the February to April time period, the Duran family reduced their water use from 12,716 gallons in 2013 to 6,732 this year—almost a 50% reduction!
  • Accomplished these savings by cutting back on unnecessary water use and capturing rainwater for their garden
  • Inspired others by tweeting about their success

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Mayor Gary Phillips, City of San Rafael
To conserve water during the drought, the City of San Rafael:

  • Eliminated or reduced to a bare minimum irrigation of turf areas in city parks and sports fields and in most landscaped areas
  • Installed high-efficiency faucets, showerheads, and toilets to replace inefficient models in city facilities
  • Minimized washing of city fleet vehicles
  • Posted conservation signs above kitchen and bathroom sinks, and reminded city employees to minimize shower times and run only full dishwasher loads at city facilities

Chief Jason Weber, Marin County Fire Department
Marin County Fire took these steps to conserve water:

  • During training exercises, flowed water at bare minimum amounts and only when absolutely necessary
  • Minimized washing of fire trucks, while still keeping equipment clean and shiny through daily wiping down with chamois cloths
  • Deferred fire hydrant and hose testing where possible, and conducted required tests so as to limit water loss
  • Asked all fire personnel to reduce water use 25% by minimizing shower times, washing only full loads of clothes and dishes, watering landscaping only as needed, and repairing leaks at fire facilities

BUSINESSES

Michael Cronin, Operations Manager, EO Products, San Rafael

  • For their new facility in San Rafael, EO Products converted the water cooling system for their manufacturing process from an open system to a closed system, allowing the company to recirculate the water and save thousands of gallons.
  • Also installed faucet aerators and upgraded all their toilets to high-efficiency models

Lynn Langford, CEO, Lean Green Solutions

  • Created “Neighbor 2 Neighbor” drought event for Ross Valley residents at the Marin Art & Garden Center
  • Helped found the Marin Edible Garden and coordinate the Ross Valley Garden Tour, including partnering with MMWD to provide water-wise gardening information to tour participants

SCHOOLS

Mike Grant, Facilities Director, Marin County Office of Education

  • Arranged for MMWD Conservation Manager Dan Carney to give a presentation for all Marin County Schools’ maintenance directors to help strengthen conservation efforts in our schools

Ted Stoeckley, Science Specialist, Larkspur-Corte Madera School District

  • Contacted MMWD to request 500 of our conservation “cling sticks” to distribute to his students in 19 classrooms at Neil Cummins Elementary and Hall Middle School, who in turn took the conservation message home to their families

Parents Marnie Glickman and Sommer Au-Yeung, Science Teacher Pete Hudson, and Students of the Lower Elementary Class, Marin Montessori School, Corte Madera

  • Collaborated on developing a program at Marin Montessori School to teach students about our water system and about the drought
  • Coordinated a water conservation presentation and led students through a brainstorming session on conserving water
  • Students took home aerators, toilet leak test tablets, a sticker, and conservation information in a bucket—perfect for capturing and reusing shower warm-up water.
  • Parents reported that all the kids came home excited and made their parents test the toilet, install the aerator, and put the sticker on the fridge.

 

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MMWD new website

Sneak peek: MMWD’s new website

We’re counting down to the launch of our new website! The site has been completely redesigned to better meet the needs of our customers. In addition to a new look and feel, the site has improved functionality, is more mobile-friendly, has an instant language translation feature, and is compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Navigation is improved through easy-to-use “mega menus,” more intuitive organization, and a new search feature. You’ll also find a News Flash feature, a searchable events calendar, and a searchable board Agenda Center to help you keep up with the latest district news, happenings, and issues. A “Notify Me” button allows you to sign up for email or text message alerts on topics of interest. We plan to add additional functionality in the future.

The district developed the website with CivicPlus, a website provider that specializes in working with local governments and municipalities to create websites that enhance citizen engagement. Our URL, marinwater.org, stays the same so that you can still find us easily.

We’ll be going live within the next day or so. Stay tuned!

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At the December 17 meeting of the Marin Municipal Water District Board of Directors the board unanimously passed a resolution in response to the extreme dry weather conditions and their impact on MMWD’s water supply. MMWD is dependent on rainfall for 75 percent of water consumed annually; the remaining 25 percent is imported from the Russian River in Sonoma County.

This has been an exceptionally low rainfall year so far. The total amount of rain recorded at Lake Lagunitas from July 1, 2013 to December 15, 2013 is just 3.79 inches. Average rainfall for the same period is 14.23 inches. MMWD measures rainfall from July 1 to June 30.

On a calendar year basis, MMWD is on its way to setting a new record low for rainfall. Rainfall for 2013 to date totals 10.68 inches, far less than the annual average of 52 inches and even below the record low set in 1929 of 19 inches.

The MMWD board also is asking customers to conserve water this winter and is directing staff to take necessary steps to prepare for a dry year in 2014.

MMWD has already made several changes in the way the district operates to minimize the impact of the dry 2013 spring. The district also re-started its conservation rebate program this summer to encourage more conservation.

Depending on the reservoir storage levels on April 1, 2014 MMWD may need to call for targeted cutbacks. When April 1 storage is below 50,000 acre-feet,* the board may activate a voluntary program to achieve a 10-percent reduction in water use. When April 1 reservoir storage is below 40,000 acre-feet, the board may activate a mandatory program to achieve a 25-percent savings in overall water use.

Here are the current water statistics:

Reservoir Levels: As of December 15, reservoir storage is 46,224 acre-feet, or 58 percent of capacity. The average for this date is 54,367 acre-feet, or 68 percent of capacity. Total capacity is 79,566 acre-feet.

Rainfall: Rainfall this fiscal year to date (July 1-December 15) is 3.79 inches. Average for the same period is 14.23 inches.

Water Use: Water use for the week ending December 15 averaged 19.6 million gallons per day, compared to 16.0 million gallons per day for the same week last year.

Creek Releases: During the month of November 2013 MMWD released 341 million gallons, or a total of 1,047 acre-feet, into Lagunitas and Walker creeks in west Marin. We are releasing more water this year than last to make up for the low creek flows resulting from the lack of rain. In November 2012 we released 299 million gallons, or 916 acre-feet. We release water throughout the year to maintain adequate flows for the fishery per our agreements with the State of California.

Water use and reservoir figures can be found on our homepage.

*One acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.

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Cynthia Koehler

Cynthia Koehler

Congratulations, MMWD Director Cynthia Koehler! On Thursday, April 11, 2013, Koehler will receive The Bay Institute’s Bay Heroes Award. The newest of the annual awards given out by The Bay Institute, the Bay Heroes Award was created in 2011 to honor individuals whose efforts have led to increased protection of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary.

Koehler, who is also the director of programs for Carpe Diem West, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of healthy headwaters throughout the Western United States, was chosen for the award for her service as the California water legislative director for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Koehler served as a chief negotiator for the historic 2009 Bay Delta Water Reform Act and led the State Water Resources Control Board’s 2010 decision, for the first time, to establish public trust flow criteria for the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary.

Koehler will receive her award at The Bay Institute’s annual recognition event this Thursday to honor selected individuals for their outstanding achievements in protecting and restoring the San Francisco Bay. The evening will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a reception in the lobby of the Bay Theater at Aquarium of the Bay before the awards ceremony commences inside the theater.

Since 1992, The Bay Institute has recognized people within the community that have continually shown support for and made significant contributions to the San Francisco Bay and its watershed. The Bay Institute is the leader in protecting and restoring the entire watershed which drains into San Francisco Bay.

Koehler represents Mill Valley and surrounding communities on the MMWD Board of Directors. She has been on the board since January 2005. This year she is serving as the chair of the MMWD Finance Committee.

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Krishna Kumar

Krishna Kumar

The MMWD Board of Directors recently appointed Krishna Kumar, currently the general manager of the Valley of the Moon Water District in Sonoma County, as MMWD’s new general manager. Kumar has extensive experience working in the public sector and in the drinking water business. He will take over at MMWD on December 10.

Kumar was selected from a large field of extraordinary candidates from across the western states. Board President Cynthia Koehler noted that Kumar’s deep local background makes him particularly well suited for the position. Koehler added, “MMWD faces many challenges, including long-term water supply reliability, financial stability, environmental stewardship issues and conservation issues. Krishna’s strong base of knowledge regarding the North Bay water picture, his involvement in many environmentally sensitive issues and his management experience, will be extremely valuable to MMWD. We look forward to having him join us.”

Kumar has been the general manager of the Valley of the Moon Water District in El Verano since 2004. Previously he was a finance division manager at the Sonoma County Water Agency. Before immigrating to the United States in 1992, Kumar served as a senior manager at the Reserve Bank of India.

MMWD Facilities and Watershed Manager Tom Cronin has been serving as MMWD’s interim general manager for the last several months.

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MMWD centennial logoThe Marin Municipal Water District is hosting an open house this Saturday, May 5, in celebration of the district’s 100th anniversary and to say “Thank you!” to our customers. Please join us for refreshments, giveaways, kids’ activities, historical displays, demonstrations and guided tours of MMWD’s water quality lab and operations center. The free, family-friendly event will be 10:00 a.m. to noon at the district’s corporation yard at 220 Tamal Vista Boulevard in Corte Madera.

MMWD received its charter on April 25, 1912, making it California’s first municipal water district. Before that, water in central and southern Marin was provided by a number of small, private companies, many of them subsidiaries of real estate developers. To ensure a reliable water supply, the citizens of Marin came together to create a publicly owned and managed water system. In the process, they also lay the foundation for the perpetual protection of the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed—today a primary source of drinking water for 185,000 Marin residents.

The district is also celebrating its centennial with monthly guided naturalist hikes on the watershed, special species monitoring and trail and habitat restoration programs, the publication of a pictorial MMWD history book by Director Jack Gibson, and other special events throughout the year. Visit the centennial page on our website to see what’s coming up.

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MMWD centennial logoThis Wednesday, April 25, 2012, will mark 100 years since MMWD received its charter as the first municipal water district in California.

Before that, water in central and southern Marin was provided by a number of small, private companies, many of them subsidiaries of real estate developers. To ensure a reliable water supply, the citizens of Marin came together to create a publicly owned and managed water system. In the process, they also lay the foundation for the perpetual protection of the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed—today a primary source of drinking water for 185,000 Marin residents.

To celebrate “a century of service and stewardship,” and to say thank you to our customers, we are hosting two free public events: First, we’ll mark the big day with a special program this Wednesday, April 25, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in our corporation yard at 220 Tamal Vista Boulevard in Corte Madera. Dietrich Stroeh, MMWD general manager during the 1976-77 drought of record, will be the keynote speaker. Due to space limitations, reservations are required.

Then on Saturday, May 5, we’ll be hosting an open house from 10:00 a.m. to noon in our corporation yard. Plan to bring the whole family and join us for tours of our water quality lab and operations center, historical displays, demonstrations, refreshments and special activities just for kids. No need to register—just drop by and help us celebrate!

We’re also celebrating throughout the year with monthly guided naturalist hikes on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed and other special events. To see what’s coming up—and to learn more about MMWD’s history—visit the centennial page on our website.

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The Marin Municipal Water District is holding an informational workshop on Thursday, March 29, on a proposed 6-percent water rate increase that would take effect for water use as of May 1. The purpose of the workshop is to provide an opportunity for customers to learn more about the district’s finances in general and the reasons for the proposed water rate increase in particular in an informal setting. There will be ample time for questions and answers. The workshop will be held in the MMWD Board Room, 220 Nellen Avenue, Corte Madera, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

The proposed rate increase would go into effect for water used beginning May 1 and for meter readings beginning July 1. If passed, the average customer’s bill would go up by $5.63 per two-month billing period, increasing from $94.44 to $100.07. The average customer uses 21 CCFs* of water in a two-month billing cycle and is billed at the district’s Tier 1 rate. MMWD has a four-tiered rate structure and a separate meter charge. Approximately 70 percent of MMWD customers keep their consumption at the Tier 1 level in the summer and almost 80 percent do so in the winter.

Even with the proposed rate increase, the water MMWD delivers to customers costs slightly more than 1/2 cent per gallon.

The Board of Directors will vote on the proposed rate increase at a public hearing scheduled for Thursday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 1400 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael.

*One CCF, or hundred cubic feet, is 748 gallons.

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The Bay-Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition, of which MMWD is a founding member, has been recognized as one of California’s “Top 40” Clean Tech Innovators for 2011 by Grow-California, an elite group of investors dedicated to growing a green economy. The Coalition received a certificate of recognition at Grow-California’s November conference in Oakland, where they rubbed elbows with other “Top 40” innovators such as Tesla Motors and Google.

The Bay-Friendly Coalition is a nonprofit organization working to promote sustainable landscaping and gardening practices in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bay-Friendly gardening practices work in harmony with nature to conserve water and other valuable resources while reducing waste and preventing pollution. MMWD has sponsored Bay-Friendly workshops and classes for home gardeners and professionals, and is joining with the Coalition, Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program, and North Marin Water District to host Marin’s first Bay-Friendly Garden Tour on May 19, 2012.

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by Janet Klein

Each year at its annual meeting, Cal-IPC honors members who have shown exceptional dedication and creativity in protecting California’s wildlands from invasive plants, and this year MMWD’s own Andrea Williams was among the honorees. Andrea received the Ryan Jones Catalyst Award, “for creatively spearheading actions or creating partnerships that make exceptional progress in protecting California from invasive plants.” Specifically, Andrea was recognized for her role as a founding member of the Bay Area Early Detection Network (BAEDN).

BAEDN is a collaborative partnership of regional land managers, invasive species experts and concerned citizens. BAEDN coordinates Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) to infestations of invasive plants, proactively dealing with new outbreaks before they can grow into large and costly environmental threats. This “stitch-in-time” approach prevents the environmental and economic damage caused by these invaders; educates citizens regarding natural resource stewardship; and dramatically reduces the need for the planning and resources required to control large, established invasive plant populations. BAEDN currently boasts 83 federal, state and local partners. Here at MMWD, staff and volunteers participate in BAEDN through the district’s Weed Watcher Program.

Andrea Williams

MMWD Vegetation Ecologist Andrea Williams

It should also be noted that Andrea was the most “decorated” attendee at this, the 20th annual Cal-IPC conference. She was festooned with ribbons for her many roles as Cal-IPC board member, conference sponsor, staffer, presenter and award winner. Andrea—your colleagues here at MMWD salute you!

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